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ויבאה יצחק האהלה שרה אמו ויקח את רבקה ותהי לו לאשה ויאהבה וינחם יצחק אחרי אמו

And Yitzchak brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rivkah; she became his wife, and he loved her; and thus was Yitzchak consoled after his mother. (24:67)

The Ramban observes that Yitzchak Avinu’s love for Rivkah Imeinu was inspired by her righteousness and the suitability of her maasim tovim, good deeds, which are the only criteria upon which the Torah predicates the love between husband and wife. This is the only form of love that is enduring. Targum Onkeles interprets the pasuk: “When he/Yitzchak saw that her/Rivkah’s actions were similar to those of Sarah, his mother – v’nasiv es Rivkah, he married Rivkah.” Yitzchak’s decision to marry Rivkah, to have her become Klal Yisrael’s second Matriarch, was grounded on her spiritual similarity to his mother. He sought…

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אנכי בדרך נחני ד'

As for me, Hashem has guided me on the way. (24:27)

How often do we become frustrated with a situation or a person, to the point that we wonder what is it that Hashem is asking of us? Eliezer was sent on a mission, an impossible mission: to find a suitable mate for Yitzchak (Avinu). Yitzchak was raised by Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu. He was the Olah Temimah, perfect sacrifice. The world “out there” was pagan-oriented, with no moral/ethical compass and even less of a spiritual focus. If Avraham sends, Eliezer goes. The lodestar that guided and maintained him was, Anochi baderech nachani Hashem;“As for me, Hashem has guided me…

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אשר לא תקח אשה לבני מבנות הכנעני ... כי אל ארצי ואל מולדתי תלך ולקחת אשה לבני ליצחק

That you not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanim… Rather, to my land and to my kindred shall you go and take a wife for my son, for Yitzchak. (24:3,4)

The moral profligacy that reigned in Canaan overrode the spiritual perversion that prevailed in Charan. As the D’Rashos HaRan explains, it is possible to penetrate the mind of he who is spiritually perverse, because idolatry is a philosophical issue which can be addressed rationally, so that the individual can understand how his logic has been twisted. In contrast, the moral degeneracy of the Canaanim is more difficult to counter, because the degeneracy becomes imbedded in the psyche of the individual, so that he is unable to comprehend anything outside of his established belief system. Horav Boruch Dov Povarsky, Shlita, supplements…

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ויקם אברהם מעל פני מתו וידבר אל בני חת

Avraham rose up from the presence of his dead, and spoke to the Bnei Cheis. (23:3)

This group of people, Bnei Cheis, is mentioned ten times in the parsha. The Torah is frugal with words and does not use an extra word unless it teaches a lesson or has unique significance. Therefore, the ten-time redundancy of Bnei Cheis (nine times in this parshah and once in Parshas Vayechi) begs elucidation. Chazal explain that these ten mentions correspond to the Ten Commandments, in order to teach the lesson that whoever assists in the business dealings of a tzaddik, righteous person, it is considered as if he carried out the Ten Commandments. This is a powerful statement. We…

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ותאמר שתה אדוני

She said, drink, my lord. (24:18)

Eliezer asked Rivkah (Imeinu) if she had water to spare. The young girl’s actions, her outstanding chesed, kindness, in not only providing for Eliezer, but also for his camels, indicated the type of person she was. In addition, she did not tarry in carrying out his request. As soon as Eliezer asked her for water, she immediately ran to do his bidding. These two aspects of Rivkah’s character are evident. Another one of her attributes is often overlooked, but should be underscored: derech eretz, manners, respect, human decency. This, explains Horav Yitzchak Yaakov Ruderman, zl, is to be gleaned from…

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ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה ועשרים שנה ושבע שנים שני חיי שרה

Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years, the years of Sarah’s life. (23:1)

Rashi explains the seeming redundancy of shnei chayei Sarah, the years of Sarah’s life, by asserting that kulam shavin l’tovah, all of the years of Sarah Imeinu’s life were equal in their goodness. This does not mean that Sarah did not experience adversity in her life. Childless for ninety years is definitely not what anyone would call “good.” Sarah, however, accepted whatever was thrown at her as being the ratzon, will, of Hashem. Sarah had many positive character traits and attributes, abiding commitment to Hashem which she instilled in our nation’s DNA. As the first Matriarch, she is the Mother…

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ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה ועשרים שנה ושבע שנים

Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years. (23:1)

Rashi explains that the repetition of the word “years” divides the life of Sarah Imeinu into three periods, each with its own uniqueness. Each period, however, also shares a particular characteristic with its predecessor. Thus, at one hundred, she was as free of sin as a twenty-year old (a person does not suffer Heavenly punishment until age twenty), and at twenty she maintained the innocent, wholesome beauty of a seven-year-old. Rashi concludes, Kulan shavin l’tovah; “All of her years were equal in goodness.” Our Matriarch had a good life, in which each of her superior character traits synchronized with one…

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ואמר אל אדני אלי לא תלך האשה אחרי

And I said to my master, “Perhaps the woman will not follow me?” (24:39)

Life is not always a bed of roses. Disappointments are part of the Heavenly-designed world in which we live.  How one reacts and responds to disappointments is the barometer of his acknowledgement that it is Hashem – not he – who runs the world. Accepting disappointment — and, in fact, growing from it — is the mark of a great person. When Avraham Avinu sent his trusted student/servant, Eliezer, on a mission to find a suitable mate for his son, Yitzchak (Avinu), he set forth one critical criterion which was non-negotiable: Under no circumstances was Yitzchak permitted to live with…

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והיה הנערה אשר אמר אליה הטי נא כדך ואשתה ואמרה שתה וגם גמליך אשקה אתה הכחת לעבדך ליצחק

Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall say, “Please tip over your jug so I may drink,” and who replies, “Drink, and I will water your camels,” her will You have designated for Your servant. (24:14)

Osah hochachta, “He will You have designated”: She is fitting for Yitzchak Avinu due to her performance of acts of lovingkindness. Such a girl is worthy of entering the home of Avraham Avinu, the Patriarch who personified gemillas chesed, acts of lovingkindness. While offering to give water also for the camels was certainly an act of thoughtfulness and chesed, was that all it was? Horav Sholom Schwadron, zl, observes that there was another factor– something about the manner in which she carried out her act of kindness. The Torah states, Vatomar sh’sei adoni va’timaher va’torad kadah; “And she said, ‘Drink,…

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ואברהם זקן בא בימים וד' ברך את אברהם בכל

Now Avraham was old, well on in years, and Hashem had blessed him with everything. (24:1)

We think of life as measured by years: a long life is one during which one has lived many years; a short life is defined the opposite way. Horav Eliyahu Lopian, zl, derives from the above pasuk that we should measure life by days – complete days. He quotes the Zohar HaKadosh, who teaches that at the beginning of each day, a person’s forthcoming “day” asks him, “What will it be today?” What type of day will you have? Will you stand up to the challenges and tests prepared for you by the yetzer hora, evil inclination? Will your yetzer…

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